The flu season typically sees an increase in absenteeism at the workplace, impacting work schedules and productivity.

Almost 68,000 cases of flu were recorded across Australia in 2014, marking the highest number in any year to date. According to the CIPD, 81 per cent of absences are due to short-term illness caused by flu or cold and may include even non-genuine illnesses. Businesses should be prepared to deal effectively with the consequences of these one-off illness situations by tracking employee absence.

Absenteeism can prove very expensive for the company if left unchecked. The costs of repeated short-term absences can add up from having to shell out sick pay to the absent employee; organise temporary cover of a shift; pay overtime costs; and risk lost production and service.

Short-term absences also impact the productivity of managers and supervisors who can spend up to an hour calling staff to cover for the absent employee, adding up to over 200 hours a year of wasted management time. The company also has to deal with lower productivity when they are forced to replace shifts and train new replacement workers at short notice.

Organisations can greatly reduce the costs of absence by tapping into their workforce more effectively. Mitrefinch employee time and attendance software can help businesses track important employee data about absences as well as quickly check the system for potential replacements to cover a shift. The time and attendance system can also help them set up a meeting with the absent employee once they return to work.